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    Learning to drive

    Learning to drive is a rite of passage, a means of freedom, an opening up of the World’s highways for exploration. Driving offers up a level of convenience hard to achieve with public transport and in rural areas, it can be a life-line giving people in far-flung places the ability to reach essential services.

    But driving isn’t a right and you need to demonstrate appropriate knowledge and ability to earn your licence. Learning to drive requires time behind the wheel to develop car control plus time to study and understand the rules of the road.

    Taking the two-part test - theory and practical - is just the first step in your independence. A good driver never stops learning and with new technologies, increasing traffic and changing legislation it is important to keep yourself up-to-date.

    Before you jump in a car to practice, here is your essential checklist.

    • You must be at least 17 years old.
    • You need a provisional licence (which you can apply for ahead of your 17th birthday) at
    • Your sight must be good enough - with glasses or contact lenses you must be able to read a car number plate at a distance of 20 metres.
    • The car you are driving must be road legal, and this also means insured for you as a learner driver.
    • Until you have passed your test, you must display the standard red on white ‘L’ plates (or ‘D’ plates in Wales) at both the front and rear of the car.
    • You must be accompanied by a qualified driver who is has held a full licence for at least three years - and is at least 21 years old.
    • We recommend you take plenty of lessons with a fully qualified driving instructor.

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